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Kiddicare goes to Camp Bestival!

Daddy G, our senior designer and expectant first time dad, headed to Lulworth Castle for a family festival knees up. Here’s what he thought…

Loud music, large crowds of people who haven’t washed for a week, mud… just three things that added to the experiences I hold so fondly in my heart from music festivals gone by. I haven’t been to a festival for a couple of years so when I was given the chance to do it again and on my birthday I jumped at the chance. However, I was brought back down to reality when Mrs Q pointed out that she’d be seven months pregnant and not sure camping in field with drunken revellers would be wise. My response: “Fear not my good lady, for this weekend we are heading for Camp Bestival – the family friendly festival”.

Set in the grounds of Lulworth Castle, Dorset a mini-city of canvas, stages, food outlets and countless family friendly activities greet us late on Friday afternoon (it’s a long drive from Bedfordshire to Dorset). The atmosphere was unlike any other festival we’ve been to. You could sense the excitement of thousands of young children running from one place to another, trying to decide whether to add their own personal touch to the giant cardboard castle…

Painting castle at Camp Bestival

…or to take a fantastic journey with stories of fairies in the woodland or join in the class in the dance tent (the last time I was in a dance tent the Chemical Brothers were playing!)

Dance class at Camp Bestival

Great to see Mark Owen on stage performing in front of 60,000 people then see him taking his son to watch the Knights of Lulworth joust for the honour of Camp Bestival. No matter which field or tent you happened to be in you just can’t get away from the fact that this is a family focused festival where fun is at the heart of every activity.

Bubbles at Camp Bestival

OK so the big questions:

Is it all greasy burgers? Oh no, there’s a big range of everything from the Young Farmers fresh food tent to exotic meat burgers and handmade ice cream to the Humming Bird Bakery average meal approx £5 per person. You could even have a full Sunday roast in the fine dining tent – booking essential in advance via the website. Dad’s be warned £4.40 – £4.60 a pint, although you can take your own into the campsites.

Fine dining at Camp Bestival

Do I have to soap dodge all weekend? Fear not, you can shower. Camping Plus offers exclusive showers for those camping here.

Does a bear …. in the woods? Toilets. the festival’s worst enemy…. Not at Camp B. Plenty of portaloos, composting toilets, kids-only loos and even “posh loos” that are cleaned after every use (note there is a charge for these). The main thing is, all are cleaned regularly so the experience isn’t as bad as some Glastonburys I’ve been to…

At most festivals the key item to plan your weekend is the programme of events… Camp Bestival had that covered and more. It may have cost £10, but the canvas bag was useful (and strong!) and had magazines, crayons and colouring books to keep the little ones amused while you take five in front of the main stage. Money well spent!

Programme bag at Camp Bestival

No matter your age, you’ll find it hard not to be caught up in it all. If the thought of listening to children’s stories all weekend is too much you’ll be pleasantly surprised – nearly every artist who performed included something for the adults into their acts (bit of blue for dad!)

Fox at Camp Bestival

For us the main draw to any festival is the music. To be honest the lineup wasn’t all to my taste, but the wide array of the acts ensured there was something for everyone. I was wowed by DJ Yoda, danced to GrandMaster Flash, sang at the top of my lungs with the Polyphonic Spree’s rendition of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and laughed till I cried with the Cuban Brothers.

Daddy's shoulders at Camp Bestival

Overall, Camp Bestival is a great event. I would recommend a trip. Even if you don’t fancy camping – grab a day ticket and see what wonders Lulworth has to offer, be warned you’ll never be able to fit it all in one day. The “three” of use enjoyed every minute and look forward to taking Wiggler in 2014.

Wiggler's first Camp Bestival

Daddy G’s festival highlight: The most spectacular firework display to close a magical weekend.

Fireworks at Camp Bestival

Mrs Q’s festival highlight: The Wurzels’ techno remix of “i’ve got a lovely combine harvester” (and the Hummingbird Cupcake outlet!)

Enjoyed this? Don’t miss our blog post A chat and a cuppa with Josie da Bank, curator of Camp Bestival.  

For the essential festival Trunki and travel cot visit Kiddicare.

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